Kingston Society chairman recognised for Heritage Open Days work

Surrey Comet: Jennifer Butterworth, back row, third from left with fellow award winners and officials at the Heritage Open days awards Jennifer Butterworth, back row, third from left with fellow award winners and officials at the Heritage Open days awards

The outgoing chairman of the Kingston Society has been recognised for her work organising the borough's annual Heritage Open Days events.

Jennifer Butterworth was handed a Pioneers prize at English Heritage's Heritage Open Days Anniversary Awards, which celebrated 20 years of the national programme.

Held at Freemason's Hall in London, awards were presented by Griff Rhys Jones, Lloyd Grossman and National Trust chairman Simon Jenkins.

National Trust director general Helen Ghosh, author and historian Bettany Hughes and MP Helen Goodman were also at the event.

A spokeswoman for English Heritage said: "Jennifer built up the Kingston programme from opening sites of architectural interest to the inclusion of places of cultural significance.

"She ran the programme single-handedly until retiring in 2013 but handed over the reins to a new group who have been able to build on her excellent work."

Ms Butterworth, who will step down as Kingston Society chairman next year, said: "It's been fascinating to see how Heritage Open Days has changed in the years I've worked on the programme.

"When I took it over, people thought solely in terms of old buildings of architectural merit.

"But things gradually change; I remember the first opening of the mosque, which saw queues around the block.

"People really wanted to know what went on in this pebble-dashed building with bright green passages from the Quran wrapped around it.'

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